When you think ‘black tea’, you probably think of your usual tea but with no milk. Well, the Swahili took it to a whole new level in their traditional Kenyan food. Chai ya mkandaa is one of the Kenya drinks that will give you warming, spicy (without burning) and sensational flavors, reminding us all why it is one of the popular African recipes. And chai ya mkandaa simply means black tea, so don’t let unfamiliar words scare you away. Tea may not be solid food but don’t worry; we are still keeping it authentic with whole plant-based food recipes. Our platform also likes to give you healthy African drinks to match. 

Traditional Kenyan Food

Kenya is a country in East Africa, famous for its safari destinations and home to some popular African recipes. Traditional Kenyan food contains spices and flavors from ingredients like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. These are also popular spices in Benin and many other whole plant-based food recipes. Consider this Kenya drink, chai ya mkandaa, as one of the nation’s best-kept secrets. We can go on about Kenyan food, but we’ve already provided details on common Swahili ingredients. You can check it out and learn something new, fun to sample and share with friends. 

Related: How to Make Mandazi- Flavorful Kenyan Donut

Video Recipe

Why try chai ya mkandaa?

Move over Pumpkin Latte and say hello to Chai ya Mkandaa, which is now my best go-to fall/winter drink. Chai ya mkandaa is not only delicious and perfect for enjoying as you watch the sunset, but it is also nutritious. The Swahili twist added will leave you wanting to try other Kenya drinks like chai ya turungi or chai ya rangi. But what goes into this tea? A few of the spices added were already mentioned above; cinnamon and ginger. Another addition that is also found in other popular African recipes is cardamom. Now let’s look at their benefits.

chai-ya-mkandaa-ingredients. This traditional Kenyan food contains spices and flavors from ingredients like cardamom, ginger and cinnamon
Chai ya Mkandaa ingredients
  • Ginger: Ginger is a common ingredient most people use in pretty much any dish. Some people even eat it raw. But this may not be for the faint-hearted. Experts say that ginger helps ease digestion as well as boosts your immune system.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is another versatile spice that is easy to add to your whole plant-based food recipes. Sweet or savory. Its health benefits, according to studies, include antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cinnamon can also help freshen your breath. 
  • Cardamom: The flavor of cardamom is like mint in comparison, but more earthy and with an alluring sweet smell. Like ginger, medical researchers say it can help with digestive problems, also relieving related symptoms like nausea. It can also help with breathing by relaxing your airways just by inhaling the strong smell (mostly when it is in essential oil form). Once again, you can use this spice in many other dishes. For example, we used it in our Moroccan Ras el Hanout Mushrooms recipe. 

Don’t be afraid to try adding spices like these to your dishes. You will be surprised by how much flavor and uniqueness they add. Spices are part of what makes popular African recipes. 

Chai ya rangi- Mkandaa Kenya tea is convenient, just like many of our whole plant-based food recipes. Spices are part of what makes popular African recipes. 
Kenya’s best secret

Offer Kenya drinks at holiday gatherings

I offered this tea to my husband, and his reaction was, “it is full-bodied and filling.” Wow! With this reaction, you might be wondering how it tastes. My palate was welcomed with outright warmth from the ginger and cloves, giving the right amount of spiciness without burning. The taste from the cardamom and the rest of the tea contents gives a nutty aftertaste with lingering sweet smells; takes the mind and senses on a quest to figure out what the faint taste or sweet smell is. From the video above, you must have seen by now how simple it is to make chai ya mkandaa. Kenya drinks are convenient, just like many of our whole plant-based food recipes. Make a whole pot of this black tea and share it with your loved ones. Relax and let the spices work their magic. 

Related: Vibibi-Light Kenyan Rice Pancakes


Chai Ya Mkandaa

Yield: 1.5
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 8 minutes

For those of you who enjoy hot and tasty beverages, Chai ya mkandaa needs to be on your to-try list! 

Perfect for cool weather, or while having lunch, and can be enjoyed at pretty much any point of the day, yes, it is that good! 

As one of the popular African recipes, home to Kenya, your taste buds will be dancing as they receive that kenyan love in the form of one of Kenya's drinks.


  • 1 and ¼ cups of water.
  • 1 teaspoon iliki (cardamom powder).
  • 1 teaspoon tangawizi (ginger powder).
  • ½ teaspoon pilipili manga (black pepper).
  • ½ teaspoon tea leaves.
  • Half teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • Sugar 3 teaspoons or according to desired taste.


DISCLAIMER: The quantity used in the video tutorial is for 5 servings but the quantity was adjusted for 1 serving as you will discover here in the written recipe card.

  1. When it comes to making tasty Chai ya mkandaa, the first step is to add water in a large pan and place the heat on high. 
  2. Next, add in all the ingredients that make this drink one of the most popular African recipes. Add in a teaspoon of iliki, and  a teaspoon of tangawizi. 
  3. Then, add in half a teaspoon of pilipili manga, a common spice added to most traditional kenyan food and half a teaspoon of tea leaves to give this Chai ya mkandaa the flavour it deserves. chai-ya-mkandaa-ingredients-Kenya_humblevege
  4. Allow the mixture to boil for five minutes and as it boils, ensure to stir well.chai-ya-mkanda-cooking_humblevege
  5. To bring this Kenyan drink together, add some sweetness to your palate, add 3 teaspoons of sugar or as desired to taste. 
  6. Boil for one extra minute and thereafter, remove from the heat, sift the contents with a strainer and compost the by-product. Lastly, gather your love ones around and serve this tasty mix while hot.


You can never go wrong with Chai ya mkandaa. This is an enjoyable hot beverage, easy to make and yummy to drink! 

Be sure to give this recipe a try and let us know how it turns out by sharing a picture with us on our social media @Humveg. 

Did you make this recipe?

Share a picture with us on our social media @Humveg

Suggested Recipes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe